Guest column: Fan engagement makes Doncaster Rovers special - Ryan Murrant

Rovers fans
Rovers fans

About a year ago Paul Goodwin wrote a match report which started off by saying that I personally had “one of the toughest jobs in the Football League”.

The team were struggling at home at the time and the insinuation was that I had my work cut out improving attendances.

After some of the more gut-wrenching defeats here at the Keepmoat, Paul still gives me that ‘told you so’ look.

After each victory I look over at his press table with a rather smug smile, while the fans leave the stadium to Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds telling us all not to worry to about a thing.

The thing with my job is that, while results on the pitch have a large effect on matchday attendances, there are also lots of things we can do off the pitch to make fans feel more valued.

Rovers have been one of the shining lights in the Football League over recent years when it comes to ‘fan engagement’ and with visionaries such as Gavin Baldwin at the helm and a new supporters’ board wanting to help make the matchday a better experience, then the club can only go in one direction. Forwards.

The first meeting of the supporters’ board covered key issues such as season ticket and match day pricing, the 2016/17 kit design and new technical partnership with FBT, catering, improving online ticketing and stadium maintenance.

We are very lucky that the owners of this club encourage us to engineer ideas to help supporters get involved with the club.

Most recently at our 2016/17 season ticket launch we gave the opportunity to supporters that had purchased early the chance to take a penalty against a first team goalkeeper. If they scored, they won £50 of vouchers to spend on merchandise or match tickets.

Fans were also incentivised to buy before the close of play yesterday to put themselves in with a chance of winning £1,879 in cash. Both were completely unique opportunities with the footballing world and make us proud to work here.

So while we can’t control the purchased product on the pitch, we can control how valued our supporters feel.

With a first team manager, chief executive and a board that want us to do more fan-based initiatives, we know that ‘every little thing’s gonna be alright’.